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century, he may suspect that they were equally so in the first, the fifth, and the fifteenth, and may derive some consolation thereby.
The second remark, more germane to the purposes of the book, is that the repeated perusal of this corpus of eighteenthcentury prose has tended always to increase, on the part of at least one reader, his respect for the person and works of Samuel Johnson. The space here accorded him is by no means due to mere tradition or literary orthodoxy, but to a genuine belief in the lasting worth of what he had to say. Granted certain of his pet foibles, — such as the habit of beginning every composition with a sonorous abstraction that gives no remotest clue to the subject in hand, and his willful unappreciativeness of a republican like Milton or a dilettante like Gray, — and where shall you find one who wrote on almost everything and said so little, whether on attics, morals, or Shakespeare, which is not still true and still important? So let the Preface end with him, as it began; and it is to the memory of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., at once the most sturdy and the most pathetic figure among its contributors, that this book would be dedicated, were it not presumption thus lightly to seek to disturb so venerable a ghost.
R. M. A.